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90 Belugas, 11 Orcas Trapped in 'Whale Jail' off Russian Coast
In the video below, a crane lifts a whale into an onshore tank in preparation for transport to an unknown destination.
It's believed that the cetaceans will be sold to Chinese aquariums, despite the fact that it is illegal to capture wild whales except for scientific and educational purposes. Commercial whale hunting has been banned worldwide since 1982.
Killer whales can reportedly fetch up to $6 million at marine parks in China.
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Citing Russian newspaper Novaya Gazetta, The Telegraph reported that the four companies that are renting the enclosures exported 13 orcas to China between 2013 and 2016. The companies allegedly involved were given permission to capture 13 orcas in the wild.
A prosecutor is investigating whether the orcas and belugas were actually captured for scientific or educational purposes. The conditions of their confinement as well as the legality of their holding pens are also being examined, The Telegraph said.
"The holding pens … are not very large—I'd say no more than 30 to 40 feet on a side, and probably only about 10 to 20 feet deep," Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientist at the Animal Welfare Institute, told The Dodo. "If they stay there through the winter, ice can form on the top of the water and they have to break through to breathe."
Greenpeace Russia described the conditions as "torture" and said that capturing the marine mammals could threaten the species' survival.
"Catching them at this tempo, we risk losing our entire orca population," Greenpeace Russia research coordinator Oganes Targulyan said to The Telegraph. "The capture quota now is 13 animals a year, but no one is taking into account that at least one orca is killed for every one that is caught."
The orca population in the nearby Kamchatka region has decreased so drastically that they were listed as endangered this year.
"The trauma and distress these animals experience during captures is not opinion or emotion—it is fact," Rose added to The Dodo. "They suffer intense stress-related reactions and their mortality risk spikes sharply soon after capture and then again after transport—they don't get accustomed to the process. The decimated pods may experience similar stress and trauma—their offspring are being taken from them."
- For Sale: Wild Russian Killer Whales | Hakai Magazine ›
- Aquariums and Marine Parks | PETA ›
- Georgia Aquarium's plan to import 18 beluga whales meets broad ... ›
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.